The State of Origin returns to screens Wednesday night for the ultimate rivalry match between the New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons.
Game one will be played in Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium, seeing the return of Latrell Mitchell for the first time since 2019.
Both States have a deadly line-up of First Nations talent taking the field in Wednesday night’s opener.
New South Wales
The 23-year-old South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback is making his return to the centres for the Blues after controversially being dumped after 2019’s Suncorp Stadium loss.
He said he has grown into the player he is today for his family and from the help of his coach Wayne Bennett.
“I’ve got nothing to prove. I just want to kick back and play some good footy, score some tries in the sky-blue, ” Mitchell said.
“I’ve grown as a man and being a dad, having to show up every day. Being around Wayne has helped.”
The Storm speedster returns for his fourth Origin series, playing on the wing flanked by Mitchell once again.
Addo-Carr and Brian To’o have been swapping wing positions in training, practising their attacking movements.
“Freddy [Blues coach Brad Fittler] is testing the waters, I guess. I’ll be on the right,” Addo-Carr said.
“Wherever Freddy decides to put me, I don’t mind. I might play in the front row,” the Storm star said with his trademark laugh.
The 2020 Dally M medalist Jack Wighton is returning to Origin for his third year.
The 28-year-old has been selected in the centres for every Origin but has been expected to play in the No. 6 jersey.
“I am really looking forward to taking on the role Freddy’s given me and trying to do my best job for the team,” Wighton said.
“Every time I get picked for this team I truly count it as a blessing so I am just happy to be able to do my part and help out wherever I can.”
The first winger to receive the Wally Lewis medal in 2017 returns for his second Origin series as a centre.
Queensland coach Paul Green confirmed Gagai will be starting in tomorrow night’s match after he was reportedly rushed to hospital in an attempt to speed up his recovery from a bout of tonsillitis.
After missing last year’s series with an ankle injury, Fifita is ready for his comeback to the Maroons side.
At just 21-years-old, this powerhouse is a force to be reckoned with.
Queensland currently leads the ledger with 22 series wins and 15 for NSW, with two drawn.
By Teisha Cloos